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...why not boast about Leopold and Loeb?

I read with amusement “Behind the Campus Buzz” (October/04). Amphetamines as study aids were quite common on campus in the ’60s and ’70s, long before the ADD/ADHD/AADD diagnosis and treatment were enshrined in the DSM bible. Everyone knew of their effects on sleep (you don’t) and concentration (like a railroad track). One friend would show up every fall with a jar of 5,000 5-mg tabs of dexadrine, provided by his physician father to help him study. (They did that. In addition to intensive attention to his coursework, he nightly spent several hours outlining in great detail a chapter of the New Testament and typing it up by morning.) Others had group prescriptions for amphetamines from a local druggist that were filled by different people, sometimes several times a day. (The druggist eventually won a paid federal vacation for his off-the-books sales.)

The most popular source for a prescription was the Student Health Service, which, on hearing “can’t stay awake to study,” “can’t concentrate,” and so on, freely prescribed Ritalin, rather than dexadrine, as a milder palliative. There is, however, a contraindication for studying: lack of judgment. My brief experiment with amphetamines ended when I walked into a physics quiz thinking I could derive everything from F = Ma. I could not, in spades, and so said goodbye to the little orange pills.

Sol Sepsenwol, SB’64, PhD’70
Stevens Point, Wisconsin

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